ARPANSA EME Program Action Plan 2020-2024

The Federal Government’s Electromagnetic Energy (EME) Program aims to promote health and safety and address misinformation about EME emissions. This Program will provide the public with clear, reliable, and reputable information on new EME based technologies like 5G, and advice on how to use this technology safely. 

ARPANSA will support the Government’s EME Program by delivering on its own EME Program Action Plan 2020-2024, which will help provide evidence-based scientific advice on EME and health. ARPANSA will report performance against this Action Plan through its corporate reporting and website. The Plan includes the below initiatives.   

Assess EME exposure in the community

During 2020-2024 ARPANSA will conduct studies to assess EME exposure from existing and new telecommunications technologies, like 5G. The studies will separately consider EME exposure levels in the home, in the workplace, and in the wider community. The aims of the studies will include, but are not limited to:

  • What is the typical EME exposure in the everyday environment?
  • What is the cumulative exposure from different telecommunications sources (mobile phone networks, TV, radio, Wi-Fi, etc)?
  • How does the EME exposure change over time (e.g. has the introduction of 5G increased the exposure)?

ARPANSA will publish the results of these studies to inform the community on EME exposure levels.

Upgrade ARPANSA’s EME laboratory

ARPANSA maintains a nationally accredited laboratory for measurement and calibration of EME testing instruments and EME research. During 2020-2022 ARPANSA will upgrade its EME laboratory to extend its capability to higher EME frequencies, which are related to 5G and future telecommunications. Specifically, ARPANSA will:

  • Acquire new EME measurement equipment
  • Build a new anechoic chamber, which is a specialised room designed to perform EME measurements, calibrations and research across an extended frequency range.

ARPANSA’s upgraded EME laboratory will offer a calibration service to the industry sector and the public and will provide an international standard research capability.

Conduct research on EME and health

It is important to continue the research into EME and health to ensure that public health policies are based on the most up-to-date information as telecommunications and other technologies continue to develop. 

During 2020-2024 ARPANSA will promote, co-ordinate, fund and lead EME research outcomes through direct commissioning of research to focus on key research needs that underpin safety standards. This will support gold standard research that considers the totality of science to ensure safety standards remain evidence-based and risk informed. 

ARPANSA has also published an EME Research Agenda that makes recommendations for specific areas of research where the body of knowledge can be expanded. The recommendations include research for emerging technologies, like 5G.

The EME Program of research will also be aimed at addressing areas of public concern that can benefit from additional evidence.

Engage with international health authorities

The World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP) are leading the international effort to assess the health and environmental effects of EME exposure.

During 2020-2024 ARPANSA will continue to engage with the WHO, ICNIRP, other international bodies and experts to build new knowledge and contribute to research outcomes and international safety standards. Specific international engagement during 2020-2024 will include:

  • Participation in the WHO health risk assessment of EME exposure.
  • Participation in the ICNIRP development of exposure guidelines to ensure they are fit for implementation in Australia.
  • Attendance at international workshops and conferences which present advances in EME research and protection policies.

Develop national EME safety standards

In order to protect people from harmful effects of EME exposure, ARPANSA has developed a new safety standard, which sets the limits for exposure from all EME sources, including 5G and other telecommunications. During 2020-2024 ARPANSA will continue to:

  • Review, revise and maintain the ARPANSA EME Safety Standard based on international best practice and will consult all stakeholders on changes to the EME safety standard.
  • Support the development of national standards related to EME measurement and safety compliance to reflect a rapidly changing environment and align with international best practice.

Provide information on EME and health

During 2020-2024 ARPANSA will provide information to the community through a range of mediums that translates scientific content on EME and health for a general audience. 

To cater for the different ways the public seek and consume information, ARPANSA will provide content via various communications channels including the ARPANSA website, news items, social media, multimedia material, ARPANSA’s Talk to a Scientist Program and media spokespersons. 

ARPANSA will also develop and publish a framework for communicating risk related to radiation exposure.